Since the launch of BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express software, ("BES Express"), and the fact that it is being given away free, a number of UK mobile networks have announced revisions to their BIS and BES price plans.
Although it is possible to use BES Express whilst only paying a mobile network for a BIS data plan, which is the cheaper BlackBerry service, Orange and Vodafone are offering what they label BES Express price plans.
BES (enterprise) service on Orange, o2 and Vodafone has traditionally been about £35pcm per handset although it was reduced to £25-28pcm per handset on these three networks about a year ago. Those with multiple handsets have sometimes been able to negotiate bulk discounts. T-Mobile UK are the only network offering it for just £10pcm.
I've read on BlackBerry's web site that Over the Air ("OTA") activation of handsets doesn't work with BES Express unless
a BES data plan is subscribed to with the mobile network. One has to use wired activation if the mobile network is only paid for a BIS data plan.
I am assuming that these BES Express price plans, offered by some mobile networks, are really BIS plans on steroids (so to speak). Orange make it clear on their web site that one can either pay them £15pcm for BES Express (and stangely only get 250Mb of data) and receive full technical support on how to set it up by telephone, or that one can opt just to pay them less than half that pcm for a BIS price plan but will not receive any kind of support for this (but will get 750Mb of data). Vodafone explain that their BES Express option costs £10pcm and one can opt to pay an additional £2.50pcm for technical support. However they also detail that it is built on the BlackBerry BIS tariff on the same page
. Other than to receive technical support, for the full £12.50pcm, why would anyone opt to pay Vodafone £10pcm for BES Express when they have mentioned that BES Express uses the BIS tariff which can be had for a few pounds less than this amount?
Also, as I have stated, I think these BES Express plans are probably BIS on steriods (so to speak) so OTA activation won't work with them. If it did work, I assume users of the full BlackBerry Enterprise Server might try to get away with paying the mobile networks these prices rather than for the more expensive BES plans.
In any rate, it's all a bit confusing. Personally I think it's shambolic that T-Mobile UK have been able to stomach selling BES to their users for just £10pcm but Vodafone and Orange have charged over 2.5 times that. With these new BES Express plans, Orange seem to be very clear with things, charging one rate for BIS if you do not wish to have technical support and another rate if you do wish to have technical support to run BES Express. Why are Vodafone charging for BIS, BES Express (which is based on BIS) and BES Express with technical support?